Manchester City welcome Aston Villa to Etihad Stadium in the Premier League this Wednesday with the chance to provisionally go top, at least for a few hours as Manchester United play Fulham later in the day. Both sides have games in hand with Villa having three on most of their opponents due to a recent COVID-19 outbreak that saw them field an academy side in the FA Cup before league clashes with Tottenham Hotspur and Everton were postponed.
Through the years I've often been asked why I support #AVFC 🟣🔵 & the truth is the reason goes beyond football. It's a story that tells my love for the club, my immigrant childhood & why Villa will always be my savior.— Luis Miguel Echegaray (@lmechegaray) January 19, 2021
My latest for @UCLonCBSSports 🙏🏽https://t.co/IWMDeXNc7V
Dean Smith's men have not played together for nearly three weeks and last time out they were beaten 2-1 in Manchester by United at Old Trafford on January 1, so Pep Guardiola and his in-form City squad are at an obvious advantage.
Here is how you can watch the match and what to know:
- Date: Wednesday, Jan. 20 | Time: 1 p.m. ET
- Location: Etihad Stadium -- Manchester, England
- TV: NBC Sports Network
- Live Stream: FuboTV (try for free)
- Odds: City -350; Draw +480; Villa +1000 (via William Hill Sportsbook)
City: Five consecutive wins and unbeaten in nine with only two draws in that time, City are the Premier League's form team. Guardiola's men have lost just once at home all season and twice in total while more draws have come on the road than at the Etihad. Sergio Aguero and Aymeric Laporte will be misses for the hosts and it remains to be seen how fit Kevin De Bruyne will be on Wednesday, but City are deeper than pretty much any other squad in the league and will still be very strong.
PEP 💬 The only concern is Aston Villa right now. We don’t know who will be available, right now, we will see tomorrow in the line up.— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 19, 2021
The performance is the only concern. In this league you can win five games in a row and then lose three in a row.
Villa: After the recent COVID explosion at Bodymoor Heath, Villa are facing a backlog of Premier League fixtures mostly against teams in and around the top half of the table. Smith has already vowed to not use that packed schedule as an excuse and rightly so -- everybody runs the same risk at this moment in time. Three of Villa's next five games, City included, are away from home and the Villans have actually fared better on the road with five wins to their three at Villa Park and an additional draw.
Smith on the upcoming fixture schedule: “The players are looking forward to each game, they have that hunger and desire.— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) January 19, 2021
“I’m sure the majority of them would admit that six games in 18 days is better than 12 days on the training ground.“#MCIAVL pic.twitter.com/yNjSiy0uIW
City to ultimately win this one but a rested Villa to give it a good go and produce an entertaining spectacle. Pick: City 3-2 Villa.
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